Penguin the magpie: an unlikely pet and an internet sensation
When Noah Bloom found a young magpie chick in the summer of 2013, little did he know that she would not only become a much loved member of his family, but that he had discovered a celebrity in the making. ‘Penguin’, as she is now affectionately known, was only a few weeks old when she was found on the ground in Sydney’s beachside suburb of Newport having fallen from her nest. Following the advice of the local veterinarian, Penguin was hand reared by Noah and his family until she was old enough to fly away. However, she never fully left.
Penguin has since become a permanent member of the Bloom family and despite having the freedom to come and go as she pleases, she often returns to to the household of a nighttime or on rainy days. Even at times when she ventures off for weeks on end, upon her return, she is welcomed with open arms by her flock of humans: husband and wife Cameron and Sam and their three children, Rueben, 13, Oli, 9 and Noah who is now 11.
This truly unique bond between wild bird and suburban family has meant that Penguin has also become quite the celebrity on social media app, Instagram, with close to 80,000 followers and her antics have attracted the attention of the Australian local media.
Magpies are a native bird to Australia and southern New Guinea. They are a friendly bird with a sweet singing voice, yet are often territorial come mating season. So far Penguin has not found a romantic companion but has managed to made some friends of the feathered kind. “A few months ago there was another baby magpie, a local one. She started playing with it and it came into the house,” Cameron Bloom said, adding, “I never thought she’d become as much a part of the family as she has. They [the kids] love her like a dog, but better…She’ll make her own family one day.”
Until that day comes, the Bloom’s nest will remain open and warm for Penguin.
All images courtesy of the Bloom family, via Penguin’s Instagram account.
Written by Sam Fin